Although lots of critics of the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise and BDSM practitioners say the books misrepresent the BDSM culture, it has undoubtedly pushed S&M into the mainstream like never before. Hence, on January 25, the Museum of Sex in NYC hosted a BDSM-inspired clothing label OHTNYC’s launch party, celebrating a mix of BDSM and streetwear. In this day and age when consent as a notion constitutes dinner talk (the #MeToo hashtag comes to mind), and when boundaries of consensual relationships have been pushed as far out as they’ve ever been, such as people openly being into transgender dating, it’s no wonder bondage and S&M have made their way into our everyday lives, and in this particular case, into fashion.

The Rise of Body Positivity

The fact that BDSM, Bondage, Discipline, Sadism and Masochism, are no longer considered dirty fetishes kept far away from the public eye speaks volumes about the rise of sex positivity. At the same time, mainstream feminism and general body positivity have contributed to the notion of having a choice to do with one’s body as one pleases. Creating a clothing line that attempts to make those who wear it feel as liberated and as comfortable wearing those pieces as they would naked is a logical result of the body positive culture that is slowly but surely catching up with its nemesis, the unrealistic and unattainable beauty standards propagated by beauty magazines, celebrities, and the media.

The Issue of Consent

We may at times feel like we live in a progressive society with a strong sense of the meaning of the word “consent” only to be slapped in the face by reality due to comments such as “grab them by the p*ssy or dismissing rape culture as “locker room talk” (both courtesy of President Trump). At the same time, in the BDSM culture, still a taboo practice in the eyes of many, consent is a big deal and without it (often on paper) pretty much nothing ever happens.

So on one hand, we have one of the most prominent figures on the planet with a pretty twisted understanding of consent that he has made known to the public on several occasions, and on the other a ‘dirty’ practice where consent is the cornerstone of it all. We live in a world where former taboo subjects are no longer in the dark and basic notions of human decency and respect are more than debatable. It’s no wonder, then, that we have a launch party for a streetwear label in an NYC museum (albeit a sex museum, but a museum nevertheless) promoting BDSM.

OHTNYC’s cam girl-inspired collection adds a fashion voice to the discussion of consent. Created by NYC’s very own Jinsol Woo, this collection is a tribute to the pleasure people get from watching others, and it’s not only sexy, but its layers of asymmetrical shapes and patterns are comfy with a touch of mischievous, making a powerful statement about the troubled notion of consent.